Wessex Archaeology

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Wessex Archaeology's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Wessex Archaeology is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


CEO Chris Brayne (left)
Leading commercial
archaeology and
heritage services for the
development sector
With a 40-year history, Wessex Archaeology is one of
the leading providers of archaeological and heritage
services in the UK, employing more than 320 people
and operating from a network of six regional offices. Their staff
deliver heritage risk mitigation services through five specialist
departments: Consultancy, Archaeology, Geoservices, Coastal &
Marine and Specialist Services. They have a diverse client base,
ranging from planners, designers and developers to historic
bodies and the Ministry of Defence. CEO Chris Brayne tells
TheParliamentary Review
Not many people know the scale and reach of commercial archaeology in the UK,
although creating a window into the past is always something that piques people’s
interest. Since our inception in 1979, we have been at the forefront of a sector
that has seen momentous changes. We work closely with clients to deliver high-
quality, realistic solutions that effectively mitigate risks to heritage. We are proud
of the part we play in helping UK development to achieve its sustainability goals,
recognising the global significance of our cultural heritage and delivering benefits
to local communities.
Promoting cultural heritage
Cultural heritage is a key economic driver for the UK: a unique selling point
that draws millions of tourists each year, forges links with communities around
the world and enhances our sense of wellbeing. Heritage tourism brings in an
estimated £5 billion annually and funds over 130,000 jobs. In 2016, the UK’s
»CEO: Chris Brayne
»Founded in 1979
»Based in Salisbury, Bristol,
Maidstone, Sheffield,
Edinburgh and Ruthin
»Services: Consultancy,
archaeology, geoservices,
coastal & marine and specialist
»No. of employees: 320
»A registered charity promoting
the education of the public in
science, the arts, culture and
heritage through archaeology
Wessex Archaeology
Highlighting best practice
cultural heritage sites saw 204 million
visitors: that’s 15 times greater than
the number of people who attended
football matches in the same year.
Heritage can influence how people
think and feel and where they
choose to live and work. Identifying,
protecting and enhancing the historical
qualities of places and buildings helps
to keep them distinctive and attractive
to visitors and investors. Our work
has increased our understanding of
many of our World Heritage Sites, like
Stonehenge, Avebury and Bath.
We help to drive the UK’s position
as a leader in this sector and have
developed methodologies, like the
Protocol for Archaeological Discoveries
for the coastal and marine sector, that
are common practices in the global
industry today. New technology has
enabled us to be more streamlined
and creative in the delivery of our
services. We regularly use unmanned
aerial vehicles or remotely operated
vehicles for terrestrial archaeological
surveys and have recently invested in
our first remotely operated vehicle to
investigate underwater sites.
Our interpretations are disseminated
through written reports, public talks
and displays, educational projects,
the web, and broadcast media. Our
specialists help to engage people from
across the world with this precious
resource. We recently provided our
expertise to the US Travel Channel’s
programme “Legends of the Lost”
with actress Megan Fox, and we
contribute regularly to UK productions
like “Digging for Britain” and “Britain
at Low Tide”.
Public benefit and legacy
The beneficiaries of our work
encompass a wide spectrum of groups
across the UK and beyond. The
knowledge gained through serving
our commercial clients is used to
enhance the experiences of individuals,
communities and organisations. We
recognise this dual responsibility – both
our commercial clients and the wider
public we serve deserve the highest-
quality outcomes that we can deliver.
Our track record of delivering
successful public benefit projects in
partnership with national bodies and
other charities extends back to our
beginnings. We have worked with
Historic England, and its predecessor
English Heritage, for decades to
support their aims of protecting and
preserving the heritage environment,
both on land and underwater. We
are continuing our work with HE
over the next three years to survey
wreck sites in UK waters, which we
aim to tie in with our Operation
Nightingale projects in partnership
with the Defence Infrastructure
Organisation and Help for Heroes.
Using archaeological fieldwork on
wrecks associated with Exercise
Tiger, a disastrous practice exercise
for D-Day, as therapy, we aim to
connect volunteer veterans with
the experiences of past soldiers and
encourage them to process their own
experiences of active service.
We think it’s crucial to empower
communities to take the lead in
engaging with their heritage by
ensuring that a diverse range of
Wessex Archaeology has
developed many of the
sector’s methodologies
for managing our
unique historic
environment, both on
and offshore
Our work has
increased our
of many of
our World
Heritage Sites,
Avebury and
stakeholder groups are at the heart
of the projects we deliver. Our award-
winning Project SAMPHIRE combined
our in-house coastal and marine
archaeological expertise with that of
local maritime communities – from
residents to fishermen, harbour
masters and scallop divers – to record
maritime cultural heritage sites along
the length of the West Coast of
Scotland. The project was a huge
success, with over 100 new sites
recorded, and the innovative approach
to community engagement earned it
a prestigious Europa Nostra Award.
This has the potential to be exported
Reflecting the aims of local councils
and public bodies across the UK, our
work helps to engage traditionally
hard-to-reach groups in heritage.
Our project at Sheffield Castle saw
a large-scale excavation of the site,
in partnership with local groups, as
part of the city’s Castlegate Kickstart
regeneration programme. The aim of
the project was to use archaeology
as a mechanism for social cohesion
in the area. Around 350 volunteers
from varied backgrounds worked
alongside our staff, creating a legacy
of learning and skills in the community.
Unprecedented public interest was met
by site tours and public talks, radio and
TV appearances, a regular column in
local newspaper
The Star
, and social
media interaction, continuing into
2019 due to popular demand.
Our commercial clients are increasingly
eager to maximise the benefits that
heritage can bring to the communities
they are working in. This is something
we strongly encourage and provide
resources to help to deliver. We
recently invested in a full-time
Community and Education Manager
to redevelop our offering to schools
so that we are able to meet learning
objectives, not just in history but in
literacy, art and STEM subjects too.
This helps to drive our charitable
aims, using heritage as the vehicle for
inspiring and educating young people.
A global outlook
The ongoing sustainability of
our cultural heritage depends on
managing, conserving and protecting
the historic environment, balanced
against the economic and societal
needs of the present and future. In
an increasingly globalised world, we
recognise the need to align our goals
with those of global bodies, like the
United Nations’ sustainability goals, to
deliver the benefits of our work to an
international audience.
Our capability and expertise have
already attracted project work across
the world, including in Africa, South
America, the Middle East and Australia.
As pioneers in marine archaeology,
we are exporting our expertise to
a global market, in areas like North
America where we have launched a
joint venture with an established US
partner. We have an ambitious ten-
year business plan that will increase
our global reach and explore new
opportunities in a diverse range of
environments and communities across
the world.
The ongoing
of our cultural
depends on
and protecting
the historic
against the
economic and
societal needs
of the present
and future
As a registered
charity, education and
community engagement
are at the core of the
company’s ethos


This article was sponsored by Wessex Archaeology. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster